Wyszkow, Poland Yizkor Book
From SEFER WYSZKOW, ed. D. Shtokfish, 1964, Tel Aviv, pp. 139-140.
Translated by Milly Hock.
Enda, the Lady-Butcher (Katzfke)
Wearing a plain cotton dress, wrapped in a large linen-like apron, runs
Enda the lady-butcher in her men’s slippers, self-absorbed and
What do they mean? she thinks, —and if they owe me a few gulden, would
I let them go to their Shabbos table without a little soup, without a
of meat? No, dear people, Oy Veis Meir!! She moans.
It is late and Enda runs with a little package of meat wrapped in white
paper. She arrives at a poor family on one street, and
is reminded of another housewife who didn’t come today to buy meat,
too ashamed to borrow.
“What is there to be ashamed of?” she would argue with the women, as
she laid the package on the table. “When you will have the money, you
certainly pay me.”
“Meanwhile, why should the children suffer? I am in a hurry,”
she would say as she stood in the doorway. “Don’t be
Have a good Shabbos!”
She runs further, her wig blowing in the wind, with a pale, tired face.
Berish Taharness, her neighbor, teases her. “Why do you run,
Enda? You are losing your apron.”
While running further, Enda would respond to him. “Stop your foolish
talk, Berish. Better go in and help your Yideneh get
And Berish would talk into his red beard. “ Let there be already such
a year, what a dear person she is!”
And the people of the shtetl, from one border to the other, know well
this special woman who lives among them.
It was about time for the stores to close, when Enda turns around,
tired and smiling. In the distance, one could already hear from
the cry of Yitschak-Jacobs. “Jews, close the stores!”
She sits down for a while to catch her breath. Chana,
her daughter, stands over her and murmers impatiently.
“Mama, let’s close already.”
But Enda is absorbed with again counting the merchandise, and her
to determine whether she had forgotten someone.
“Wait, don’t nudge me!” she answers Chana and continues to count
on her fingers.
“Chinkeh-Rachel. Yidl Polker. Ezri-elkin. Paluchi. Chatskel,
the teacher. David Volvishes-“
And thus counting, her face lightens and becomes more restful.
“It seems to me, nobody is forgotten, thank God. Now, Chana,
we can close the butcher shop and make Shabbos.”
Enda and Chana go home, wash themselves, dress in their Shabbos
and set forth to the synagogue. On the way people greet Enda with
a cordial “Good Shabbos,” as was proper to a distinguished person in
shtetl. On the steps to the women’s synagogue she meets Chaveh.
They greet each other. Chaveh’s “Good Shabbos“strikes a chord in Enda’s
heart. She stops Chaveh.
“Tell me, dear Chaveh, why have you not bought any meat from me for
Chaveh blushes a little.
“In truth, dear Enda, a piece of chicken has remained from yesterday,
and we managed somehow.”
In the synagogue, Enda stands in her usual place, opens her prayer
book to Kabalas Shabbos, and when the cantor begins the “L’chu
a question arises in Enda’s mind. How did Chaveleh get a hold of
a chicken? She wants to go to Chaveh but her mind speaks
Here, we can’t talk. And what good would it do? The dear Chaveh
possibly have cooked for Shabbos.
“Oy, veis meir” exclaims Enda. “What will they eat today?
I am thinking of her sick husband and their dear children?” she
“What’s the matter with you?” asks the wife of the Shamus quietly.
“I am very warm and my head is spinning. I must go out and catch
a breath of fresh air. I’ll soon be back,” she answers, softly.
Enda slips out of the synagogue, goes home, takes out the hot pot with
the Shabbos soup, wrapped with a cloth, and runs breathlessly to
house. Upon her arrival she doesn’t even knock, but goes into the
kitchen and places the hot, covered pot on Chaveh’s cold stove.
“Children,” says Enda, “I have brought your mother’s soup which she
had cooked in my oven. Tell her it is a bit tight in my oven, so
I brought it here,”
And without waiting for a reply, she goes back to the synagogue.
When Enda arrives the praying is already over and the people of the
congregation are heading for home. She doesn’t find Chaveh.
* * * * *
The children in America had written Enda more than once that she
go to them. They had even sent her a ticket for the ship, and the
necessary papers. The children often begged their mother to leave
the butcher shop, make them happy, and go to America. Enda would read
letters from her children, look at the ship’s ticket and cry. How
could she leave the shtetl, her dearly beloved people? So many
to be together, in joy and in sorrow! How can a person just
away, never to return?
In the evening Enda goes to Mendel, the scholar, to counsel
with him. He knows Enda quite well. She lives not far from
him and she goes to him often with her bitter heart. He knows
how difficult it is for Enda to tear herself away from here, and her
for her children. Mendel speaks to her as though he is her
“How long, Enda can you hold out here alone, in your butcher
The competition in Poland is affecting the Jewish trade, and you carry
more and more packages of meat on loan. The poverty here cries
to heaven. True, you have the heart of a saint, but you have children,
may they be well. Be a mother to your children! It is a
mitzvah. Go Enda. Go to America, in good health, and help them
The time comes for Enda’s departure. The shtetl is saddened as
in the Nine Days of Tisha B’Av. People come to the butcher shop and to
Enda’s house, for the farewell. In these days many tears are shed
by the women, neighbors and friends, There were those who owe Enda for
meat and had nothing with which to pay. Enda cries along with
comforts them, blesses and thanks them.
Nighttime, in her bed, Enda is not able to sleep. Her sole
is, how can I convince the Ribono shel Olom to feed his people
She had already read all the books of prayers for women but she is not
satisfied. She must talk it out with God, in her own words.
She goes away to the large Bays Ha-midrash, falls to her knees with
eyes closed, clasps the Ark, and these are Enda’s words, her own
“Thank you, dear Gottenu, loving heart, Father, for the kindness you
do to me and my children. Forgive a sinning woman, who comes to
not for herself, but for all of Israel. Master of the Universe,
know the truth, that I did not want to depart from our shtetl.
are your plans, that you have sown like seeds, and spread my little
my little children over the seas. Now I order and command You.
shall, trustful Father, nourish Your children of the shtetl. They
have, at least, a little piece of meat for Shabbos!”
Enda clasps her face with her hands, which had held the Holy Ark, and
cries and moans bitterly.
Thus does Enda depart painfully from her shtetl. We shall remember
name with great love, esteem, respect and faithful memory.
For the record, my uncle's name is Shimon Domb. He changed his
name to Simon Davis when he came to the United States. He is
in the Sefer Vishkov various times as listed below.
Page 20. He is the tall man to with the trumpet to the right
the gentlemen in the uniform.
P. 89 He is the ninth man from the right. The name
"Domb" is captioned under the picture.
P. 90 In the top left picture, Shimon is the third man from the
left. The tall man with the cap.
P. 111 He said he was one of the fellows in front of the
I cannot identify him.
Also, on page 139-140 there is a story about Shimon's mother.
"Henda the Katzfke". I am attaching the translation. We
referred to her as Mimeh Enda.]
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